Pringles are not potato chips

A British judge has ruled that Pringles are not potato chips, even if they do look and taste like them.

The judgement means that unlike regular crisp makers Pringles manufacturer, Procter & Gamble, is exempt from paying VAT on the product.

The High Court passed its ruling after an inquiry into the ingredients, manufacturer, packaging and public image of the tube-packaged snack.

The judge allowed an appeal by Proctor & Gamble against a VAT Tribunal decision that Pringles should be standard-rated at 17.5 % as falling within the definition “potato crisps, potato sticks, potato puffs and similar products made from the potato, or from potato flour, or from potato starch”.

Most foodstuffs are zero-rated for the tax, but Revenue and Customs argued that Pringles fell within the “potato crisp” exception. Procter & Gamble pointed out that, unlike potato crisps, Pringles had a regular shape “not found in nature” as well as a uniform colouring and texture and a “mouth melt” taste.

The judge said a potato product “must be wholly, or substantially wholly, made from the potato”. Pringles, he said, were made from potato flour, corn flour, wheat starch and rice flour together with fat and emulsifier, salt and seasoning, with a potato content of around 42 %.

For further information contact:

Procter & Gamble

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